Florida's Refreshing Fort Myers
By John McNamara
my home in Ft. Lauderdale a day trip to the west coast of Florida
is satisfying. Our first trip to the Ft. Myers area allowed us to
explore some of the best attractions around, Thomas Edison and Henry
Fords house, Bowditch Point Park, and Lovers Key State
The Thomas Edison and Henry Ford house was an enjoyable start to
our day, but finding it was a little difficult. There werent
any signs off I-75, the main North/South highway on the west coast,
so I had to guess where to exit. Now I know. Your best bet is to
get off at Anderson Avenue heading east. Anderson turns into 867
South, which takes you directly to the Edison/Ford house. The road
to the house is lined with magnificent palm tress, and the sign
to the house is so small youre likely to miss the house. Keep
your eyes open and look for the signs.
on the grounds, we were more than ready to get out of the car for
a walk around. A tour of the grounds must be done with a guide.
A ticket is purchased at the check-in desk. A huge Banyan Tree stand
majestically at the entrance. What a sight to see! The guides said
some Banyan Trees in India grow up to 1 mile wide. Incredible! The
landscaping and grounds are well kept, with many different species
of plants that Mr. Edison was sure to experiment with. There is
also a big forest of Bamboo on site. The bamboo leaves make a soothing
wind chime sound when they brush up against each other.
At the museum we had an opportunity to learn a great deal about
Mr. Edison. Did you know
Thomas Edison was one of the most
prolific inventors of the nineteenth century? He is credited with
the development of the first practical incandescent lamp (1879),
the phonograph (1877), and the worlds first central Electrical
Power Station (1879).
Edison was born in Mila, Ohio, on February 11, 1847. When he was
fifteen, Edison became manager of a small telegraph office. Soon
he devised ways of improving the equipment. At twenty-one, Edison
received his first patent for the stock ticker. In 1871 he established
his own manufacturing company in Newark, New Jersey. By 1878 Edison
had begun experimentation on an electric lamp. On October 21, 1879,
he succeeded, using a carbonized cotton tread that glowed for forty
Throughout his life Edison received over one thousand patents on
inventions like the kinetograph (an early motion picture camera),
ore separation and a nickel-iron-alkaline storage battery.
After spending a few hours exploring the home, we sat down in a
shady picnic area to enjoy our packed lunch of sandwiches and drinks.
For those of you who prefer to eat out, they also have
a concession stand on the ground.
The Edison and Ford Homes are superb and interactive ways to learn
about the history of a couple of fascinating men. See below for
a Schedule for the Edison and Ford homes. From the Edison and Ford
homes, we headed south on 867 to Ft. Myers beach. This road takes
you directly to the beach. Its about 1/2 hour drive to the
beach from the homes. Ft. Myers beach has a peaceful atmosphere,
not overly touristy, with pleasant looking buildings. We had a feeling
of being in Marthas Vineyard.
We made our way to Bowditch Point Regional Park. The west coast
of Florida has some of the most spectacular sunsets. We were looking
forward to the sunset, but unfortunately, the day was overcast.
The park is a situated on the tip of Ft. Myers beach, and overlooks
the ocean and the inlet. The locals say this is a great location
to watch the sunsets. As we peered out over the water we realized
we were almost alone, with only the white, squawking sea gulls among
us. The park had plenty of parking, bathrooms, and Bar-b-que pits.
The Bowditch Point Regional Park is open from sunup to sundown.
For more information, contact Lee County Parks and Recreation at
The Bowditch Point Regional Park
is located at:
50 Estero Boulevard
Fort Myers Beach, Florida 33931
From Bowditch Point Regional Park we continued south on the 865,
Estero Boulevard, until we came to Lovers Key State Park.
Lovers Key State Park is large park made up of smaller islands
including Black Island, Lovers Key, Inner and Long Key. This
1616-acre area features canals and tidal lagoons fringed with mangroves,
which support an array of fish and other aquatic animals.
There is plenty to discover at this park. You can hike the nature
paths to the pavilions that overlook the Gulf of Mexico, or to the
large deserted beaches. There wasnt another person in the
park that day. They also have a kayaking guide in the park. You
can rent kayaks and paddle through the park, from the inlet to the
Gulf. It was a special treat to find this pristine property still
available to the general public, right next to a seaside building
Lovers Key State Park is located
8700 Estero Blvd.
Ft. Myers Beach, FL, Florida 33931
The Ft. Myers area has plenty to
do for the beach, nature and history lover. We were pleasantly surprised
with its beauty. Next time we look forward to discovering Sanibel
Island and Captiva Island, which are both in the Ft. Myers area.
These islands are some of the most beautiful areas in Florida, from
what Ive been told. Thats another Tropical Adventure
for yet another active day.
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